From a Land Down Under: Trackwalk - Cairns DH World Champs 2017

Sep 6, 2017 at 9:36
by Nathan Hughes  



Roll up, roll up, people! It's gonna be one hell of a show here in the Aussie rainforest… and how can we tell? Because it was last time, and the time before that. World Champs just can't be beat for the spectacle. Chequers or wreckers, all or nothing is the flavour and flaming hot is the style it's always served up, as we get to see true no 'ifs', 'buts' or 'maybes', full-commitment runs from the very best in the World.

Aaron Gwin's on his A-game off the back of the end of season smack-down he dished out for the competition, Greg Minnaar's looking for rainbow revenge, Danny Hart's defending the stripes, Loïc Bruni took it home last year and both Troy Brosnan and Mick Hannah are deadly serious about going for gold on home soil. And then there's single-crown Sam Hill circling in the water like an unpredictable apex predator and who can tell how that's going to play out. The list of threats for the gold is a long and dangerous one, and indeed, you should expect nothing less from this part of the world.

In the women's we have Tahnée Seagrave coming in hot with an end of season three-peat to her name, Myriam Nicole still stoked on riding the white vest to victory, Tracey Hannah about to go balls to the wall in her home town and Rachel Atherton ready to rip out some throats to defend what's hers. For the juniors you have to anticipate another Finn Iles masterclass, but Matt Walker has the minerals to strip him of that last shot at junior gold. Should be good, if we're not very much mistaken.

Conditions-wise the track is looking drier than we've ever known it, already with a generous coating of the 'brown pow' up top. Given time and many hundreds of practice laps the crusty hardpack should break up a good deal further and get that roost flying just the way we like. It's a funny old course and, almost unchanged, it remains a mix of violent gnar, huge high-speed jumps and feeble flat connector sections that lower the tone, but up the ante for anyone looking for the win simply by staying off the brakes. The stoke is high for this one and we can expect the local crowds to pump up the atmosphere to a boil come Sunday for an almighty showdown in the jungle. Let's take a walk...



Many of the World s fastest have enjoyed a few days jet-lag recovery time on the many beaches surrounding Cairns.
Many of the world's fastest have enjoyed a few days jet-lag recovery time on the multitude of beaches surrounding Cairns.

It s North Eastern Australia so you gotta be caso- aware -y.
It's North Eastern Australia so you gotta be caso-aware-y... Whilst keeping an eye out for all the other potential hazards.

We still can t get used to seeing these signs. Still now s not the time for dip...
We still can't get used to seeing these signs, but are ready to believe now is not the time for a dip.

Just a chunk of driftwood gently floating downstream...
Just a chunk of driftwood gently floating downstream.

Its dry out there almost desert like.
The uplift was full 'Aussie Outback' Spec; a 4WD truck, a driver with dreads wearing an akubra, and blasting some funky jungle disco at full noise.

Team Austria shuttling up to scope out this jungle boogie.
Team Austria shuttling up to scope out this jungle boogie.

End of the line for the Jeeps now it s just a push of the last 30m vertical to the start gate.
End of the line for the Land Cruisers, now it's just a push of the last 30m vertical to the start gate.

Back in the same start hut used during the last two world cups. Only this year its for the grand title.
Back in the same start hut used during the last two world cups... only this year, it's for the grand title.

Although just about everything here in Cairns wants to kill you its an incredibly beautiful place.
Although just about everything here in Cairns wants to kill you, it's an incredibly beautiful place.

Markus Pekoll tests roostability levels and isn t disappointed.
Markus Pekoll tests roostability levels and isn't disappointed.

Dust bro. Expect to see nothing but dustpocalypse shots throughout the next few days
Dust bro. Expect to see some #dustpocalypse shots throughout the next few days

You never know what you re going to find outside or above the tape.
You never know what you're going to find outside or above the tape.

The upper turns are mostly smooth and a little repetitive but there s still the odd dragon s tooth to keep riders on their toes.
The upper turns are mostly smooth and a little repetitive, but there's still the odd dragon's tooth to keep riders on their toes.

All the riders are stoked that the rock garden is dry and well lit this year. It should make that task of getting through it a lot simpler
All the riders are stoked that the rock garden is dry and well lit this year. It should make that task of getting through it a lot simpler.

Dry dusty and mostly dead the rainforest isn t nearly as lush as we know it from the spring but it s definitely preferable thinking back.
Dry, dusty, and mostly dead, the rainforest isn't nearly as lush as we know it from the spring time, but it's definitely preferable thinking back.

Spotted Eliot Jackson in the rock garden.
Spotted: Eliot Jackson in the rock garden.

Smooth it ain t... good luck Mr Hill he ll be fine .
Smooth it ain't... good luck Mr. Hill (he'll be fine).

Straight off the set of Promethius.
Straight off the set of Promethius.

Connor Fearon back to it but will his finger still be holding him back from full ferocity
Connor Fearon back to it, but will his recovering finger still be holding him back from full ferocity?

Shooting in this blazing spotty light is going to be bloody hard
Riding and shooting in this blazing, spotty light is going to be mighty tough!

Hydration looks to have run out early into Ed Masters Track walk.
Hydration looks to have run out early into Ed Masters track walk.

Will all the cracked hardpack break up into moon dust We kind of hope so...
Will all the cracked hardpack break up into moon dust? We kind of hope so...

Classic Cairns crash netting.
Classic Cairns crash netting.

Greg the Goat s going straight down the middle you should too.
Greg the GOAT's going straight down the middle, you should too.

Wyn Masters scoping the new jumps of the Ridgeline section . Two pretty damn large doubles with a little one to scrub inbetween.
Wyn Masters scoping the new jumps of the 'Ridgeline section'. Two pretty damn large doubles with a little one to scrub in between and new, awkward, off-camber set-up.

There are two pretty considerable short but steep uphills and a fair chunk of flat smooth connector trail - a time when firm set-ups lock-outs and yes perhaps even trail bikes will count.
There are two pretty considerable short but steep uphills and a fair chunk of flat, smooth connector trail—a time when firm set-ups, lock-outs and yes, perhaps even trail bikes will count.

 I think I m just gona send it
"Yeah I think I'm just gonna send it"

The over - under bridge is one of several parts of the track that was in the original 96 worlds course here
The over-under bridge is one of several parts of the track that was in the original '96 worlds course here!

From A Land Down Under Trackwalk - Cairns World Champs 2017
The one and only helter-skelter on the circuit.

Mark Wallace and Brosnan scope the line into the post corkscrew step-down.
Mark Wallace and Brosnan scope the line into the post corkscrew step-down.

Brosnan is surely a favourite for the win here on Sunday but there s a queue of fellow countrymen he ll have to best before he even gets to the Minnaars Gwins and Bruni s of this Earth.
Brosnan is surely a favourite for the win here on Sunday, but there's a queue of fellow countrymen he'll have to best before he even gets to the Minnaars, Gwins and Bruni's of this Earth.

Marcello Gutierrez ready to do the honours for team Colombia contemplating his line into the infamous whoop section.
Marcello Gutierrez ready to do the honours for team Colombia, contemplating his line into the infamous whoop section.

Hannah s been riding here the best part of two weeks testing set-up options and the local boy even gets a section named after him.
Hannah's been riding here the best part of two weeks testing set-up options and the local boy even gets a section named after him.

Team Canyon investigating the new shape to the set which will mix things up.
Team Canyon investigating the new shape to the set which will mix things up.

Brook Einstein MacDonald.
Brook 'Einstein' MacDonald.

Team Ireland s one and only... Jacob Dickson.
Team Ireland's one and only... Jacob Dickson.

El Chapo was stoking on the course but not as much as his first custom painted worlds bike. More on that soon.
Rupert 'El Chapo' Chapman was stoking on the course, but not as much as his first custom painted worlds bike. More on that soon.

Carved-out jungle bobsleigh turns... there s a hundred of them.
Carved-out jungle bobsleigh turns... there's a hundred of them.

Last year s victor Loic Bruni and team mate Miranda Miller think of the various ways to skin a cat when the going gets steep.
Last year's victor, Loic Bruni and teammate Miranda Miller think of the various ways to skin a cat when the going gets steep.

The final chute ever a problem area at race speed although preferable in dust to axle deep mud a la 2014...
The final chute, ever a problem area at race speed, although preferable in dust to axle deep mud a la 2014...

Miller s had a tough year of injury struggle but getting back to full strength she will look for some maple-leaf shaped glory here in Aus.
Miller's had a tough year of injury struggle, but getting back to full strength, she will look for some maple-leaf shaped glory here in Aus.

The final sprint has had a mid-size rolling double added at the beginning shortening the last slog just a fraction.
The final sprint has had a mid-size rolling double added at the beginning, shortening the last slog just a fraction.

World Champs always the dazzling jewel in the crowd of any DH race season.
World Champs; always the dazzling jewel in the crown of any DH race season.

Dougie Fresh brandishing the black beauty of Luca Shaw.
Dougie Fresh, brandishing the black beauty of Luca Shaw.

WC series winner Myriam Nicole will have her work cut out going for gold on a shallower gradient especially considering Seagrave s momentum Hannah s hometown advantage and Atherton s will to defend the stripes.
WC series winner, Myriam Nicole, will have her work cut out going for gold on a shallower gradient, especially considering Seagrave's momentum, Hannah's hometown advantage, and Atherton's will to defend the stripes.

Last light hitting the upper canopy and the Cairns bungey.
Last light hitting the upper canopy and the Cairns bungee.

Riders of the World unite for the opening ceremony.
Riders of the world uniting for the opening ceremony at sunset.

Team NZ parading for the people.
Team NZ parading for the people.

We can t wait...
We can't wait to see exactly that.

Tomorrow it s on.
And neither can this little fella... Tomorrow it's on.



85 Comments

  • + 79
 Remember when that local in flip flops tried riding a pro's bike through the whoop section ate shit hard OTB.
  • + 31
 youtu.be/C1PyWfm90ho

I think a "Hey, hold my beer" was in order here.
  • + 4
 @cheeverbrent: nice work bruh
  • + 1
 @cheeverbrent: Holy ****.
  • + 6
 @DrPete: Brutal. Crazy thing is the pros make those whoops look like nothing and this guy gets destroyed on the first one.
  • + 2
 I broke my neck earlier this year on a set of whoops... so I know the feeling!
  • + 9
 at least he made it to the end of section..
  • + 5
 @cheeverbrent: The dude got caught out by the front and rear brakes being around the wrong way on the bars. Poor bastard.
  • + 2
 @kit-nz: shit dude, I hope you're ok to ride another day! I bought a leatt when two of my riding buddies broke their necks in the same season!
  • + 3
 @bakenbikin: thanks mate. Damn scary initially but was super lucky. A week in hospital & a 7 hour surgery (all free if course, thanks NZ Smile ), they had me sorted. Got clearance to MTB after 5 months, so back into it now!

Me + 3 riding buddies have bought neck braces since. As well as one of the surgeons, a young guy! He came and saw me 2 days after the surgery and said that working on my injury made him pull the trigger on buying a Leatt he'd been contemplating. I should get some commission...
  • + 25
 Couldn't spot any snakes, or Jeeps.
  • + 19
 Plenty of kick ass Toyota's
  • + 17
 What the f*ck is a Jeep?
  • + 2
 @Wamprat: Just Enough Essential Parts... bastardized version of a cool WWII vehicle.
  • + 21
 Those aren't jeeps, they are Toyota Land Cruisers. They were called jeeps last time you guys were there as as well. That is like calling a V10 a Session.
  • + 8
 Or calling a non-Specialized bike an Enduro - wait...

Some products have become name-giving to a full category.
Just take it easy, Australian way! :-)
  • + 3
 Calm down. Over here quite a few people calle them Toyota jeeps
  • + 9
 @Narro2: Ahh... no they don't...
  • - 2
 @Narro2: that's there, not here
  • - 4
flag Narro2 (Sep 6, 2017 at 13:48) (Below Threshold)
 @caseyfumi27: aha.... Yeah they do
  • - 2
 @Cashman39: i don't care
  • + 2
 up here everyone call 4 wd jeep Smile
  • + 1
 Did anyone else click on the picture!?
  • + 21
 Good to see Fearon back.
  • + 19
 Those Aussie team shirts are brutal.
  • + 7
 Ready for some rugby?
  • + 38
 then sam hill is like, nahhh i aint wearing that.
  • + 27
 Eliot Jackson has the right idea. You only need one shirt when you go to the tropics.
  • + 23
 the Eliot Jackson team shirt is stunning
  • + 2
 I really like them. Would wear one.
  • + 1
 @cheeverbrent: Lawn bowls even
  • + 10
 Love the 'Brook 'Einstein' MacDonald' call!
  • + 2
 Totally didn't expect that from the Bulldog in Tippie's nerd quiz!
  • + 9
 Those aren't Jeeps, they're Land Cruisers. Be careful, Toyota folk take that kind of talk pretty seriously.
  • + 5
 I was furious. Jeep doesn't make a troopy.
  • - 7
flag therealtylerdurden (Sep 6, 2017 at 11:48) (Below Threshold)
 @jmd2drsrbtrrthn4: lol dork.
  • + 10
 Jeep can only dream of making something that capable and durable off the factory line... not to mention longevity. Jeepers!
  • - 11
flag therealtylerdurden (Sep 6, 2017 at 12:03) (Below Threshold)
 @jdsusmc: my '96 Grand Cherokee has 300,000 miles on the original 318 cubic inch V-8 and the original tranny. What was that you were saying?
  • - 2
 @jdsusmc: that said, I've never gotten the appeal of Wranglers. And FJ's are badass, don't get me wrong... But f*ck the fanboyism.
  • - 3
 @Tmackstab: there are TONS of cars that have gotten to a million, including a '95 Dodge Ram with the same engine and tranny as my Jeep. What's your point?
  • + 6
 @therealtylerdurden: I guess a million mile Toyota is way less impressive than a million mile Chrysler.
  • - 1
 @therealtylerdurden:
Still sounds like a money pit. Least parts are cheap and prevalent.
  • + 3
 @therealtylerdurden: mate have you ever seen the episode of Top Gear where Clarkson tries his best to wreck a Toyota Hilux with sea, fire and even a drop from a tower block, but a squirt of WD40 and the beast turns over straight away!!
  • + 2
 @Tmackstab:
super cool Toyota cares enough to take it apart and reverse engineer into their future vehicles. And the dude got a brand new Tundra free! Deal and 1/2. Toyotas rock
  • + 1
 @therealtylerdurden: Yeah, but how much of that was spent off road?
Land cruisers are built to live a 300k life off road. Not like some of the poser '4wds' you see around.
  • + 1
 @caseyfumi27: a LOT. Anything from exploring the Colorado Rockies at 12-13,000', to Moab, to Sedona, Flagstaff, St George and the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument. She's seen air at 70 under all 4 in the desert to being purposefully thrown sideways at 50 on a solid 100' of black ice. The posi in the rear end makes driving aggressively on black ice without studs actually controllable. I got the thing with 200,000 and put 50,000 on her in the first year.
  • + 12
 As an 80 series Cruiser owner, my comment was intended as a light joke. You guys took it and turned it into the Special Olympics of internet arguing. Bravo.
  • + 9
 Mick's drop...much respect
  • + 14
 He better no-hand it
  • + 5
 "Connor Fearon back to it, but will his recovering finger still be holding him back from full ferocity?".... C'mon man don't be dumb.... Wink
  • + 6
 Wonder if there will be a fan racing again lol. Hold my beer I got thisSmile
  • + 7
 What an intro!
  • + 5
 where can I get one of those marsh guard hats?
  • + 3
 that island there looks like a pair of boobs(Ratboy 2016)
  • + 2
 Sucks to be stuck at work a mere 30mins away form the Champs. Can't wait to get out and see the action.
  • - 2
 It's cool cos it's rainforest and reef and all and eco is so important to all of us now, but it's not a world class track period. Australia is a mighty place with mighty hills and mighty people and can and should do better. It's like the uk having the WCup in tavi woods.
  • + 2
 Or like Austria Hosting the World Cup in Leogang instead of Schladming (or any other place with a similar gnarly track)?
  • + 1
 These are some epic photos bringing home the Aussie flair... so excited to see the race!!!
  • + 2
 Sam Hill has that look in his eyes......
  • + 2
 Go the Kiwi's ya mad bunch!!!
  • + 1
 Happy to see a Philippine flag in the competition!
  • + 1
 Gwin for the WIN should be interesting
  • + 1
 Watch out Doug, behind you.
  • + 1
 This is going to be awesome..
  • + 1
 Bring on the rain and flat pedals!
  • + 2
 Dry as a bone here with little to no chance of rain. Its a dust bowl...
  • + 1
 Awesome Photography!
  • + 0
 OMG!!!! Amazing!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 YES!!!!!
  • + 1
 I shoulda been there...
  • + 1
 Hold my beer ( . )( . )
  • + 1
 SAM HILL _____O^O_____
  • + 0
 It's gonna be liit
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